//How will you embrace the truth?

How will you embrace the truth?

2018-06-14T21:40:47+00:00

The power of truth lies in our ability to embrace it. When we embrace it - all new possibilities open up to us.

Quality & Me

Subir shares short stories about what people do to make a difference everywhere they go. We can make huge contributions to the way we function as a society by standing out as an example within our own community: at work, at our places of worship, among our colleagues, friends, and family. All it takes is the courage to step up and being straightforward, thoughtful, accountable, and resilient.

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Books by Subir

The Power of LEO
The Ice Cream Maker
The Power of Design for Six
The Power of Six Sigma
Organization 21c

A friend communicated a story to me about Alan Mulally, the former CEO of Ford.

When Mulally first joined the organization, he gathered his senior management team together to identify what needed to change at Ford.

In a nutshell, Mulally asked his team to color code their initiatives red, yellow, or green. Red meant things were in bad shape—for example, a launch date might be missed.

Yellow meant an initiative wasn’t going well, and green meant the initiative was on track. He wanted his team to be straightforward when presenting their reports so they could figure out solutions.

Everyone’s reports were nothing but green. No yellow or red in sight.

Keep in mind that Ford had lost billions of dollars.

Mulally wondered out loud how everything could be going so well while the company was losing so much money.

Mulally knew that if his team wasn’t straightforward, chances were no on else in the company would be. It was a race to the bottom. He explained that he expected his executive team to be straightforward about the problems they were having.

The reports continued to remain green. Why? Ford’s culture was the opposite of being straightforward: it was a culture of deceit, CYA—whatever term you want to use. Everyone knew there were problems, but no one had the guts to talk about it.

Then Mark Fields spoke up.

I don’t know if Mark had a sudden awakening, or just got sick of sitting through another unproductive meeting, but he described a problem his team was having, and why a new car launch would be delayed.

I’m told you could hear a pin drop. Then Mulally started applauding. Applauding! Finally, someone who wasn’t afraid of the truth. He chose to be straightforward. That action was the beginning of a new culture at Ford—it was a turning point.

You know the rest of the story—Ford was the only U.S. automotive manufacturer to emerge from the automotive crisis without filing for bankruptcy or having to accept government assistance.

The power of truth lies in our ability to embrace it.


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Don’t be afraid of the truth

Encourage everyone – and I mean everyone – to be straightforward, to tell the truth, and to not be afraid. Without being straightforward, you can never make a difference.

Fear freezes your ability to be straightforward

When we are scared, nervous, or afraid, we shut out the outside world.  We become less open and transparent. Instead of accepting our true selves, and admitting that we are afraid, we put up a wall designed to keep out the truth.  We make things up to compensate—about how good-looking we are, about how clever or competent we believe ourselves to be, about how much money we make. We lose sight of the importance of being straightforward and honest. Fear can undermine openness and honesty in anyone—including me!

Impact of Quality of Learning

Is it culture, the weather, geography? Perhaps ignorance of what the right policies are? Simply, no. None of these factors is either definitive or destiny. Otherwise, how to explain why Botswana has become one of the fastest growing countries in the world, while other African nations, such as Zimbabwe, the Congo, and Sierra Leone, are mired in poverty and violence?

How to make everyone a S.T.A.R.

One company had a return that equaled 5 times the cost of their investment in the program. Another company had a return that equaled 100 times the cost of their investment! It’s a true story. I know, because both companies were clients of my firm. Both companies got a return on their investment, but I still felt both frustrated and perplexed that one had done so much better. The reason for the difference kept puzzling me—why would one company do so much better using the same processes?